First Advisor

Gottlieb, Derek

First Committee Member

Holmes, Michelle

Second Committee Member

Larkins, Randy

Third Committee Member

Broadnax, Wesley

Document Type


Date Created



Understanding the professional, relational, and personal traits and characteristics of those who remain and excel in the profession is paramount in helping to retain quality music teachers. Past research has established the complex nature of teacher resilience as a social construct that is unique to an individual’s context, past experiences, and personal and professional values (Day & Gu, 2007; Gu, 2014; Mansfield et al., 2016; Smith, 2020). This case study and photo elicitation sought to better understand resilience in high-achieving music ensemble directors by analyzing the attributes, professional lifestyle traits, and school cultures of teachers who excelled in their role as music ensemble directors during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Eight high-achieving band and orchestra directors whose ensembles were chosen to perform at the 2020 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic completed a contextual questionnaire, Zoom interview, and photo elicitation exercise. Through photo descriptions, individual case analysis, and cross case analysis six intersecting themes emerged. Resilient themes included the development of professional and personal relationships, a commitment to health and self-care, creative problem-solving skills, larger purpose and tradition in their work, a student-centered approach, and a focus on positivity about the pandemic. Better understanding the professional and personal environments and relationships that impact resilience in music ensemble directors may guide teacher educators, music directors, and school leaders toward nurturing these environments and attributes in current and pre-service music educators. Keywords: resilience, resiliency, music educators, teacher resilience, photo elicitation, midwest band and orchestra clinic

Abstract Format



189 pages

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Rights Statement

Copyright is held by the author.